I’ve been wanting to add some more crockpot recipes to my repertoire…and according to the survey, that would help a lot of you, too! (Thank you so much for your feedback! If you haven’t responded yet, it would be a huge help!) To be honest, I tend to feel a little uninspired in my crockpotting. I haven’t found many recipes that I want to make over and over, which is my main barometer for a successful recipe. (A notable exception is this bbq beef, which is delicious and only has three ingredients!)
But some days pretty much require the crockpot, right? Last week we had some of the flooring in our kitchen replaced where it had been scratched during the construction process. In addition to creating that lovely fine dust that settles on every.single.surface in your home, it knocked the kitchen out of commission for the day. It was the perfect time to experiment with a crockpot version of this chicken tortilla soup (from my friend Baley over at 715 West Photography – Raleigh friends, check her out!!) that I’ve been wanting to share with you! Spoiler alert: it’s a perfect crockpot meal: takes less than 10 minutes in the morning, and it’s pretty much ready to eat when you walk back in the door. It’s also infinitely customizable and the finished soup freezes well! I’m in love.
Chopped onion and garlic in the bottom, chicken breasts on top, a sprinkle of cumin and pepper. Then you pour on chicken broth (or water + Better Than Bouillon chicken base) and a jar of salsa!
Eight hours or so later (plus some shredding action with a couple of forks):
Dinner is served! The first night, we ate it with shredded cheese and a bag of tortilla chips. We ate the leftovers for another meal later in the week, and I was out of chips (1 bag serves a family of 4, right??), so I made these quick baked tortilla strips. I love their texture in the soup – they’re more hard and crunchy than light and crispy fried chips, so they hold up well without getting soggy.
Just brush a little oil onto the tortilla rounds, then stack ’em up and cut them into strips! (Painting oil onto tortillas is one of my daughter’s top 5 favorite kitchen activities, behind obvious ones like licking spatulas.) Sprinkle them with kosher salt and spread them out on the pan.
They bake for about 15-20 minutes (this will depend a lot on how thick your tortillas are, so keep an eye on them). Then load up your bowl of soup!
We kept it simple with the chips and cheese, but the topping/mix-in list is endless! You could add black beans and corn to stretch the soup on leftovers night, or stir in some sour cream to make it creamy. (gag. oops, sorry, the white condiments get me.) Fancify things with avocado/cilantro/lime wedges, or up the spice factor with some hot sauce!
You could even throw in an extra chicken breast or two, then reserve some of the meat when you shred it (with a little of the broth to keep it moist) and use it for taco salad, quesadillas, or burrito bowls later in the week!
Crockpot for the win, guys.Print
For the soup:
- 1 medium-to-large onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 chicken breasts (I used 4 since I like the soup to be really meaty – it was about 1.5 lbs)
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- pepper to taste
- 6 cups chicken broth (or 6 cups water + 2 Tablespoons Better than Bouillon chicken base)
- 16 oz salsa (I used a mild salsa for my kids)
For the baked tortilla strips:
- 6 corn tortillas
- 1.5 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- kosher salt to taste
Ideas for toppings:
- the baked tortilla strips (or a bag of tortilla chips!)
- shredded cheese
- lime wedges
- green onions
- sour cream
- hot sauce
For the soup:
- Add onion and garlic to crockpot. Place chicken breasts on top, then sprinkle with cumin and pepper. Pour chicken broth and salsa on top. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. Shred the chicken (it should be falling apart anyway) with a couple of forks and add salt or other seasoning if needed (keep in mind that you may be adding salty cheese/chips on top).
For the baked tortilla strips:
- Preheat oven to 375 and line a large baking sheet with foil. Brush both sides of the tortillas lightly with oil, then stack and cut them into strips (I use scissors for this). Sprinkle the strips with kosher salt, then spread them out on the pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp (keep an eye on them – cooking time will depend on how thick your tortillas are).
- Serve the soup with any or all of the topping ideas above!
To change things up, add black beans and corn as you’re heating up leftovers. Or let people customize their own bowls and stir them in if they want!
Sneak in more veggies: chopped bell pepper or sliced carrots can go in at the beginning (the carrots aren’t weird, I swear).
The cooled, cooked soup freezes well!
To make an easy meal later in the week, cook an extra chicken breast or 2 with the soup. Set it aside (with a little broth to keep it moist) after you shred it and use the shredded chicken for quesadillas, burrito bowls, or taco salad!
To make the soup without a crockpot, heat a little olive oil in a large pot over medium and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the cumin, broth and salsa, and cooked, shredded rotisserie chicken (or other leftover chicken), and simmer for about 30 minutes.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Baley of 715 West Photography!